Saturday, November 28, 2009

Corn Hut Talk

After our lovely party last night, we slept like little acorns under the leaves.. This morning Mom decided to try the steps (she's been housebound a couple of weeks due to a "bad leg"....) Success! So we were off on a journey. Had breakfast at the lake with a Dartha sound asleep, beak under her wing.. (I didn't take a picture because truly she looked dead!!!) Dartha finally shook herself awake just as we were leaving... What a bird! After a long drive and a late lunch at Crossroads, we wandered home in this unbelievable post-Thanksgiving summershine... 60 degrees and total sunshine!

We drove home through Amish country... These proud shocks of corn prompted me to look up another line of poetry I recalled from dear old Carl Sandburg... and that journey prompted me to copy/paste the whole of Corn Hut Talk... Dear Mr. Carl. ====================
Corn Hut Talk

Write your wishes
on the door
and come in.
Stand outside
in the pools of the harvest moon.
Bring in the handshake of the pumpkins.
There’s a wish for every hazel nut?
There’s a hope for every corn shock?
There’s a kiss for every clumsy climbing shadow?
Clover and the bumblebees once,
high winds and November rain now.
Buy shoes for rough weather in November.
Buy shirts to sleep outdoors when May comes.
Buy me
something useless to remember you by.
Send me a sumac leaf from an Illinois hill.
In the faces marching in the firelog flickers,
In the fire music of wood singing to winter,
Make my face march through the purple and ashes.
Make me one of the fire singers to winter.
-------------------- Carl Sandburg

Friday, November 27, 2009

The New Black Friday. . .

I don't think anyone was too comfortable with the term Black Friday... I think they thought it to be negative... money-mongering, depressing... a Pall on the thoughts of the first day of holiday shopping... Everywhere you look, the term, "New Black Friday," (QVC) or "Blue Friday" (Sears or Target?) and "Not another Black Friday" are being tossed about... I am happy to say it doesn't matter to me one way or the other. I am one who has always tried very hard to stay home the day after Thanksgiving. I don't really like crowds, and I'm not a true bargain babe... I buy what I want if I can afford it.... at the time. I am a merchandiser's dream: an impulse buyer.... Even if I KNOW it will be cheaper in a couple of weeks, I rationalize that that two weeks will be WORTH the little extra it costs... I am impatient, I guess... and I have the charge cards/bank accounts to prove it! haha..
But I digress... Today, the cold sunny landscape through my windows refreshed my spirit... I looked out at the last roses of summer, the beautiful begonias still ablaze with glory... and I thought I would burst in bride... "I" planted those... I even purchased the rose bush called "Quietness" to gift my mother for Mother's Day..... and as much as I hate to admit it, "I" am eagerly awaiting another chance to do gardening/flowering even a bit better than this year... Oh, no... Not the artificial hanging basket queen!!! Maybe, like the H1N1 flu, it shall pass... We can only hope (and promise not to tell my MOM!!!)
We put the roast in the slow cooker with loads of aromatics, vegetables, soups and white cranberry juice... Mom stirred up her cinnamon-kissed pumpkin pies, which are now cooling on the kitchen table.. The dining room is set for our guests to arrive in about two hours... Casseroles are awaiting the proper times to be popped into the vintage gas oven... and my salads are crisping in perfect little bowls in the refrigerator... I baked two loaves of homemade bread at eight o'clock this morning, and I think I'm ready except for the final bake and touches... Is there anything more blessed than having the privilege of cooking all day and knowing your loved ones are coming tonight? Thank you, Lord!!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The Blessing of Thanksgiving

I hope all of you have had a wonderful day with family and friends. Mom and I celebrated today, and tomorrow we're having my son and some dear, dear friends for a little Post-Thanksgiving Dinner Party. This year I'm making a huge beef roast instead of turkey. Mom and I had turkey frozen dinners today, but I set the table with our lovely Friendly Village dishes, and made a little apple/walnut Waldorf Salad... with craisins... Mom's not a fan of mayonnaise (imagine!) so I made the dressing with about 5 T. Cool Whip, 1 T. Miracle Whip and 3 T. powdered sugar. It was yummy!
We watched the parade, and I loved the dog show... I am such an animal nut... Time for lots of visiting with each other and on the phone. My son went to his dad's family today... The fireplace is glowing tonight, and it's time for a cup of White Chocolate Mocha.... and candles... always candles!!!
I am grateful to have found so many wonderful friends in my life, including the dear ones I've made through these blogs. Have a happy holiday season. I am enjoying my five days off from school...

Monday, November 23, 2009

The WELDER and the BABY

Good evening.. It's time for another stunning story from my classroom! This one's again about the boy I'm calling Brian... (see A Tater's Tale).

If I need anything done, I call on Brian. If, in the future, I have the opportunity to choose a place of business that employs Brian, I will go there. He is a great worker and a really nice guy... However, Vocabulary? Not his "thaing." Up until a couple of weeks ago, Brian was dancing on the sixty percent line in my class.. He'd slip below it, and then he'd work just enough to pass.
Then, miracle of miracles, his welding teacher told him he needed to learn how to write resumes and business letters for job placement. Then, Brian sat up and paid attention. "Mr. Cheever tells us we have to write letters with inside addresses." Um... we've been doing that all year... "Mr. Cheever wants his resume done, and it has to be 'right!'" To which I replied, "Well, I was kind of hoping mine would be right, as well." Brian happily insisted it was different with "Mr. Cheever" because.... and he kinda trailed off... I mentally finished the sentence. I knew without a shadow of a doubt it was because Brian deemed Mr. Cheever to have a lick of sense...
So, with that new-found enthusiasm, Brian has been working on a Career Portfolio for me. I gave the students templates and sample letters, and I told them to plug in their own information and make the letters their own. Brian brought in two today... ready for typing, which he doesn't do... I will usually type for a kid who's never had keyboarding, but I always say if they make a mistake, I make the same one on the final copy... These letters were stellar. He nailed the inside addresses, the return addresses.. He politely requested the opportunity to tour and apply to the Midwest Welding Institute... The letters rolled on about the strength of his resumes, the quality of education reknowned in the school, how much Brian wished to be a part of the fine body of elite who enriched the community... and so on... I thought, "He did a fine job of melding in his WELDING with whatever the sample letter-writer had as its goal."
Then I got to the final two lines: Brian penned, "I was especially impressed with the special tour of the obstetrics unit, and I am sure that I will be a valuable part of your neonatal program of study." .... Um... Brian? I called him up to the front to clarify... He beamed when I asked him what obstetrics and neo-natal meant... "I don't really know. I just added in the big words to impress ya!" Can you spell classroom rolling on the floor laughing? Brian is very good natured, so he laughed too when I told him, "Brian--- obstetrics: little bitty babies. Neonatal: little bittier babies." .... He kinda turned red and mumbled that he was really trying to impress me... I am keeping that letter to look at when the going gets tough.... He meant well!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Big Smiles!!

So. Sometimes things DO work out. My little furry friend, Sally... she's home!!! My son called me tonight and said she just walked into the house (he has a bad screen door which NOW I think we'll fix).... This little sweetheart had been on walkabout for at least two weeks!!!! She was a bit perturbed to find her dish gone and EMPTY!!! She quickly found herself queen of the castle once more with a full dinner dish, water, and her adoring court. I raced up there and played with her, and she seems totally fine... a few little burrs in her soft fur.... and a story to tell that we will never know! Hal-yay-yu-yah!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

You say it's your Birthday.....

Had a little pizza party tonight for my friend, Patty. She and another wonderful gal decided to come down and celebrate with Mom and me, so we ordered a couple of Pizzas...
I threw together a swirl cheesecake brownie... It's so EASY...
Take a regular mix for any brownie you like. I add crushed pecans. Put it into the pan and spread it out as if you're ready to bake.
Mix in bowl: 1 pkg. cream cheese (melted on full power for 1 minute), 1/2 c. sugar, 1 egg. 1 t. vanilla. Beat until frothy and spoon over the top and swirl... Yummy!!! Bake it about 35 minutes.
Mom made sweet tea with simple syrup... It's the best ever!!!
We sat around, drank Pecan Torte coffee and Earl Grey tea.... Then we began to plan for Christmas... and visited, nibbled on a bacon-cheddar dip I fixed with crackers... and reminisced how we spent Christmas Eve and Morning as little girls. It was neat to hear about the old stories. Patty is from an Italian family, so her heart's request for her birthday dinner from her Mom tomorrow will be Polenta and Chicken Stew... I would love to taste that. Our family hasn't ever made Polenta...
Tonight, the winds are gently kissing the windows and the night is tense, cool, and full of nature's warnings. Coyotes are running, and the world is fresh with that tinge of winter chill in every night breeze. Tomorrow we'll get together for lunch and play some more Spinner... And then the weekend will be gone... Only two days next week before our Thanksgiving Holiday... And all the teachers (and students) are sooooooo grateful.... Goodnight!

Busy weeks..

So... is this the name of the game? Rush and crash? I certainly hope not. I have been so busy at school this week I haven't had one minute to call my own...

So, I just made a little collage from some of my favorite pics on my Picasa program. It's way cool, but it takes over all your photos, which is a bit scary. Tomorrow is Saturday, and we have a lot planned. Mom and I aren't going on a road trip, but we're planning a little birthday cake party for a friend of mine... So, tomorrow is decorate the tables for Thanksgiving, wrap (and locate) the gifts we bought her... and bake the cake... Have a super weekend... Did you hear it's only like 33 shopping days left or some such craziness? ooops... This may be t.h.e. ... y.e.a.r...... (you all know the one I mean.) Hugs...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday Dinner

Happy Sunday to all of you. . . And a Show-off-Your-Cottage Monday, as well!!!!

I did a bit of rearranging and straightening last night in the middle of the darkness....
This guy is one of the many beautiful ones featured on The Tassle House on Etsy.... I gave him to Mom for Halloween... I think we're moving him as soon as we put away the Fall Decor... But, he's a start!
We have a long-standing tradition at our home of Sunday Dinners with the families. When I was a younger person, we alternated between sets of grandparents, myself, and my parents. Now... it's here. And we love having my son and his friends every Sunday. Today was a simple one: meatloaf, salads, asparagus, creamy corn, and baked potatoes with sour cream... The fun extra, besides our own merry-making, was the Emmet's Jalapeno Honey salad dressing. It's made by a local restaurant in Fayette, MO, called Emmets... Yum! Kind of a sweet mayonaisse base with the tiniest bit of a kick... On to a Spinner Double Header, with myself featured as the loser on both counts... :-(

Now it's definitely time to do those Mid-term grades due in the morning... No rest for the wicked, the weary, or the worn-to-a-frazzle... Hugs for the week.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The day before the day before....

Scenes from Randolph Mercantile's exterior in Moberly... Even though last weekend was its Open House, the store was packed again today...

And no wonder! It's adorable. I'm in the "getting ready to get ready" stage on Christmas... I hear through the grapevine (aka Mom) it's only 41 days away...)... When I was a little girl, I looked forward to Saturdays so much, and I often got mixed up on the true positional meaning of each day... So my favorite question was, "Is it the day before the day before Saturday?" I have always loved Thursdays....(and that was before it became the best night on TV).... Stay tuned for Holiday Happenings... I hope..

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dragons and Daily Drags...

Okay, so my day started like any other day... Found a nice turqoise top to go with some cool turqoise jewelry... stopped for a sugar-free, fat-free Vanilla Latte at Mickey D's.... and my kids were ready to work... All but one, that is... He wanted to pick a fight because I had taken about half of his points away for COPYING off the internet... I mean, his essay contained a couple of pages that looked and sounded verbatim like this: Dwarf: "Rigidly bound by caste and tradition, the dwarves have been waging a losing war for generations, trying to protect the last stronghold of their once vast underground empire from the darkspawn. Dwarves are very tough and have a high resistance to all forms of magic, thus preventing them from becoming mages." (Racial Benefits: +1 Strength, +1 Dexterity, +2 Constitution, 10% chance to resist hostile magic)
Yeah, I've been teaching for 35 years now... plus I can plug in any string of words and find the original in about five seconds... And although as I have aged, I know fewer and fewer things for absolute certain, I do know when a kid copies verbatim off a website that he didn't just "accidentally" write that himself by "chance." A little while and a lot of drama later, he finally wrote me an apology letter for saying he hated my class and possibly me... I had already forgiven him. He's a great kid, but boxed into a corner, a lot of young men will get kinda cranky!

The day went from that to less excitement.. until my freshmen decided to be really a festival of disfunction... One girl's note I confiscated revealed she had the urge to drag me upstairs to her locker and slam me in it 100 times... She also shared a lot of other ideas about her involvement with the class which included numerous epithets and multiple misspelled cuss words... Always a funny reverse fire starter for English teachers.. I sent up a note to her after-school tutor with homework she SHOULD have been doing instead penning the pulitzer epistle I had demanded... And I told her in the note "if she wanted to drag me upstairs to her locker, she better pack a lunch because I outweighed her a couple of times and I wasn't goin' without a fight... " She, too, decided to apologize... and I summarily don't hold grudges with kids, so she, too, is forgiven..

My day, not so much. I hold grudges against the day... haha.. Tomorrow is Friday the 13th.. I would never be so rash as to say, bring it on.. Never. Ever... In fact, I'd love to be home, my family all home safe, and that day safely laid by... Have a good one.. Watch your step... Hugs.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Well, what a night. My son called about 9 and wondered if I had come to get Sally, my cat who has lived with him since I moved in here with Mom. No, I hadn't, but we cannot find her anywhere. He looked for hours with a flashlight and the little laser which she loved to chase. I feel sure she would have shown her little colors if she could have. We don't know. She hated the outdoors. Never wanted to go out, never ventured out except for once when she fell out of a weak-screened window as a kitten. She began to wail and scream to come back in that night, and I've never seen her even give the great outdoors a second glance. Yet, she's gone. She might have curled into a little ball and... you know... She might still come out and be okay... She may have disappeared into the night forever. It's a sick feeling at the pit of my stomach... Did she leave to die? Coyotes are simply horrific around here... Is she okay and just wandering into some one's home and heart? I have always known I would lose her before I went home.... My son is crying up there, and I am simply numb... Cats are such "their own little persons.." It breaks my heart. Thanks for listening... Send a little kitty cat prayer up for my gal, Sal...

*note: stll no luck... I know if she's in the woods behind my house, she is scared and won't come out. I calledher, walked into the edge of the woods....., and then decided to just MEOW.... It used to bring her running... I once was unfortunate enough to watch Shirley Booth in "Come Back, Little Sheba," and from then on.... there is something so pathetic about a sad woman crying and calling for a dear pet in the rain... Oh, yes... it decided to rain.... I won't be posting about her any more unless I find out something for sure... Stuff like this is so hard for everyone who loves their little fuzzy shadows.... I look a mess, feel so rotten.... and just frankly don't care.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Old Friends and Sunsets... a look back at the day....

A peek at my rear view mirror.... The day's slipping out of sight....
The day is done, and the western sky holds its magic there for me... Where have I gone today? What have I done, and who have I seen?
Mom's hair appointment gives me an hour to spend as I will... And today found me at Rothwell Park in Moberly... at sunset.... with a camera!
I would love to have little kids to take to the park for a ride on the Rothwell Park Express... And guess who I saw there? My old friend....!!! Who was it that honked and wheezed a little welcome (very little) as she gobbled and hobbled over to the feeding grounds?
As always, Dartha is the star of the show... I might have known she'd be right there where the rangers had fed the ducks and geese for the night... Look at her beautiful winter's coat... I love to see her in cold weather....

So, enjoy the beautiful fall weather while we can because winter is near. Time for shepherd's pie, hot cocoa, and long dreamy naps under the down comforter.... I'm just like Dartha---- thinking of duck feathers and food!!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

The Little Bear Who Slept Through Christmas

Do you guys remember that story? I think the little bear decided to hibernate all winter, despite the fact he'd miss Christmas??? I dunno... I'm thinking I might just take him up on his offer... Along about this time I am reminded of a night long ago when my little son (who was then about three and is now about 28....) looked around at a huge group of people who had met at our house to play Trivial Pursuit... He got so giddy and excited and he simply erupted in a long squeal, "We're-all-here-and-we're-all-having-fun-and-we're-all-havin-a-party-and-we're....." with that he sighed very deep and began to bawl because he could think of not one more thing we were all..... I am at that point tonight. I am overwhelmed. 107 students. I feel as if I am talking at the top of my voice every minute of the day, either trying to explain, trying to encourage, trying to SHUT THEM UP (not nice, but true).... I punctuate every sentence with a coo of "shhhhhh... listen! Be busy..."...... I know teachers are notorious for burnout in January, and I am no exception.... but November also brings a kind of blurry burn that ebbs at my spirit... I used to hate November, but no more. I lost a lot of family members during this month, and I didn't enjoy thinking about that as a younger woman... Now, (insert bitter laugh) I have lost family and friends in all months... so November hasn't that betrayal as death's month any more.... (rather a questionable positive thought, eh?.)
So.... I have decided to just stop this post and get some sleep... perchance to dream.... I know many times we get snippets of songs in our heads and they won't go away... My head, however, plays snippets of English stories... and today it plays the final words to Great Gatsby... "Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther. . . . And then one fine morning—So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

Monday, November 2, 2009

Show Off Your Cottage Monday

I have been wanting to get some pics posted for Cielo's wonderful party, so even though I'm late, I am putting up some pics of Halloween present and past... Enjoy, and pop over to the House in the Roses for more

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sorta funny... sorta sad....

We had 34 trick or treaters!!! That's counting the adults, too... but there were 23 kids! I was so happy. I adore having trick or treaters!!! I had made the cutest little treat bags, and I meant to get a picture but they came really early!!!! and kept on coming until after dark... I love Halloween!! just simply love it!!!!

Haha.. These girls are sophomores at my school, and they were trying to look like "seniors." And not in a good way!!! They were cuties... They moved like I do!!! (Guess whether that's funny OR sad!?!?)
School was a zoo... a perfect zoo.. I couldn't believe how excited everyone was about Halloween... and yet I trudged on with things to keep everybody busy... (good for me, eh?)....
UNTIL.... our so-called Shop teacher (a man who is a legend in his own mind, might I interject)... decided to run a FIRE DRILL at 1:15. The elementary Halloween parties were just starting, cupcakes, monsters, Jedi knights, little faeries with enormous wings... all jostling through the halls to stand with "pretty ticked off" witch-dressed teachers and bewildered grannies and moms and a few very stressed-looking dads... There they stood in the middle of the street. For the few who were caught away from their rooms without their little green flags???? Uh.. I was told by the teachers they grabbed a kid in green and held that kid aloft to signal the all clear!!! I was mumbling that "there better be a real fire and I better see some smoke." He kept saying "You never know when a real fire will hit" and grinning like a goober.. I know that is true, but since it didn't, do you think you might not be so inconsiderate of all the pirates and eyeball cupcakes and all? I first said we should wait until he got really busy and then call another one; then I realized that he's one of those guys who is never all that busy... ya know? Grrrrrr... and so cocky....
We all were laughing because that's what teachers do... but we were ticked.
Happy All Saint's Day... Fall back on your clocks!!!!